Here I am, squeezing in one last email when I feel those little fingers tickle the part of my back peeking out of my office chair–a ticking time bomb alerting me my time is up. Of course, I use the term “office” lightly. What I really mean is the desk and chair crammed in the corner of our dining room, acting as the official headquarters for my humble graphic design business.
What started as a hobby blog a few years ago turned into an almost full-time venture designing websites, brands, e-books, and magazines in a season of major transition and newlywed life. I loved every minute of it. Never had I felt more creative, more free, or more stretched than I did in that season. I knew I had found a sweet spot. Conveniently, this build-your-own-schedule work arrangement transitioned well into motherhood. That is, until my daughter actually showed up.
Soon after she was born, I found myself in a new town, deep in the throes of postpartum depression, with a baby who loved to be bounced on our exercise ball approximately twenty hours a day. Work from home? I could barely go to the bathroom by myself. Completely out of character, I was in tears every day, making catastrophes out of annoyances, and wondering if I would ever again recognize that reflection in the mirror. Months after the fog cleared, I realized that the time I found a mysterious dent in my laptop (resulting in a several-hundred dollar replacement), was actually caused from the remote I threw clear across the living room in frustration. Just me? I really thought that season would never end.
But it did, thanks to a little medication and a lot of prayer. And really slowly but surely, I found time to sneak in a few projects and stretch those creative muscles. Naptime became my laser-focused work time and I built momentum, settling into that sweet spot again.
My choice to work and be at home has inevitably come with its challenges. I’ve admittedly lost my junk because I have a full inbox and an insomniac of a kid. I’ve force-fed graham crackers to buy myself a few more minutes on a conference call. There have been really late nights meeting deadlines and securing new projects. But this life I’ve chose, to chase hard after what I love to do and also be the best mom I can be, is a pretty sweet setup. And I wouldn’t do any of it differently.
That work-life balance thing? Maybe it’s not about finding balance. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe it’s more about existing fully wherever you are–experiencing a full life. And by full, I don’t mean a full schedule. I mean a full heart. I go to bed dog-tired, knowing I’ve raised a human being, dug deep into my passions, pursued relationships, stretched myself, and really, kept it all running whether I’m willing to believe it or not. Because that’s what we do. And those are worthy things to be dog-tired for.
Whatever your choice is when it comes to motherhood, the lesson is still the same. Abundance over balance. Fullness over busyness. Gratitude over striving. Our kids needs more of what we have, and we would be cheating them if we didn’t give everything we’ve got. Leaning fully into our own gifts and knowing wholeheartedly that we are doing a far better job than we are ever willing to admit.